One in three babies born today will reach 100 years old. Yet, as the Early Action Task Force’s report Looking Forward to Later Life published today shows, the approach of successive Governments to our ageing population has mirrored the approach of many individuals: disjointed, head in the sand, afraid to look too far ahead.
As they grow up and grow older many of these children will use our services: between us we work on behalf of thousands of children, young people, and adults of all ages throughout the UK.
To thrive in old age they will need a supportive childhood, a great education, a well-paid career, opportunities to contribute to their communities, secure savings, a healthy lifestyle throughout life, access to good support and social networks.
And all of this before they reach old age, at which point it might be too late: it is not easy to prepare for later life when we are already old, we can just manage the consequences of what has come before.
We urge government to join us in creating a bold, ambitious, long-term vision for our ageing society. It would take in pensions and social care, but also education and housing, mental and physical health, work and volunteering.
As individuals, and as society, we must learn to look forward to later life. As the Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing has said: it should be an Age of Opportunity.
Jane Ashcroft, Chief Executive, Anchor
Geraldine Blake, Chief Executive, Community Links
Lynne Berry, Chair, Commission on the Voluntary Sector and Ageing
Stephen Burke, Director, United for All Ages
Anna Coote, Head of Social Policy, nef
Hilary Cottam,Principle Partner, Participle
Matthew Downie, Head of Campaigns & Public Affairs, Action for Children
Liz Emerson, Co-founder, Intergenerational Foundation
Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive, NCVO
Rosie Ferguson, Chief Executive, London Youth
Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, ILC-UK
Javed Khan, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s
Sara Llewellin, Chief Executive, Barrow Cadbury Trust
Anne Longfield, Chief Executive, 4Children
Janet Morrison, Chief Executive, Independent Age
Professor Paul Palmer, Cass Business School, City University London
Professor Anne Power, LSE
David Robinson, Chair, Early Action Task Force
Caroline Slocock, Director, Civil Exchange
Baroness Debbie Stedman-Scott, Chief Executive, Tomorrow’s People